Harlow mourns death of much-loved athletics coach Nat Fisher

Nat FisherBy Michael Casey

Nat Fisher: 1936 to 2016

HARLOW AC’s much loved veteran coach, Nat Fisher has passed away.

I would like to pay this personal tribute.

Back in 1975, my PE teacher at St Mark’s, Kelvin Evans, sent me down to Harlow AC. He told me I was ok as a runner but if you wanted to improve, you had to join the middle distance group down at the Sportscentre.

So one cold and icy Sunday morning I went down and was welcomed by Nat Fisher. It was quite a forbidding group with champion middle distance runners such as Toni Lattimore, Adam Bridge, Ann Tamplin, Michael Beckwith, Veronica Cullen and many more.

The session was murder. All I can remember is the crunching of the ice on the cinder track and the lung-burstingly short intervals. At least it seemed to hurt everyone else.

I thought the session had ended as we stepped off the track but oh no, not a Nat Fisher session. Five “bunny hops” up the south banking of the sports centre….

“See you on Monday then Michael” said Nat with that cheery grin. He did.

And for the next three years, I had the time of my life in Nat’s middle distance group. Those sessions of 10 x 400 or 16 x 200 etc; the tactical advice from a man who had run with the best of them were invaluable.

I may not set the world on fire but through Nat Fisher and the much missed Kelvin Evans they took a kid who was knocked out of the heats of the Harlow Primary schools 80 metres to a British ranked 800 metre runner.

I have taken my running shoes all over the world and run in Sydney, India, Dubai, Africa and the USA. I ran in the first ever London Marathon and wear my one in a million t shirt with pride (4036). None of that would have been achieved without Nat Fisher.

As run became a pastime and my profession took hold, I had 800 metre running and Nat’s sessions as a form of mantra for life: “If you can hold on and keep your bearing in the third 200 metres then you always have a chance.”

And now, many many years later, this 54-year-old still shuffles around the Harlow park run on a Saturday morning. And you now that last straight, I try and kick like it is golden summer of 1976 and I am flying down the back straight of Crystal Palace.

If you see that runner this Saturday at the park run, I just had something in my eye.

Farewell Nat, you shaped generation after generation. I will leave the facts and figures to others. I just wanted to say thank you.

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